I spent the past 24 weeks reading a dozen biographies of John F. Kennedy totaling just under 8,000 pages: six “conventional” biographies, a two-volume series and four narrowly-focused studies of Kennedy’s presidency.
In the end, JFK proved to be everything I hoped for – and more! Like several of the presidents who preceded him, Kennedy’s life is a biographer’s dream.
His forebears were dynamic, endlessly fascinating, occasionally unscrupulous and, from time to time, oddly dysfunctional. Kennedy himself proved to be no less interesting: he was medically infirm, an ardent bookworm, a serial philanderer, often ruthlessly pragmatic and extremely charismatic.
But after spending five-and-a-half months with JFK and experiencing his presidency nine times (three of the books did not cover his time in the Oval Office) I still find Kennedy undeservedly well-ranked by historians. But that’s a subject for another day.
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